What is OCR?

By Optiform Blogger, April 12, 2016


Ah yes, the industry jargon acronym that you are seeing over and over in your investigation into how you can reduce the time it takes to process invoices. We are glad you came to us for clarification.

Optical Character Recognition


OCR, short for Optical Character Recognition, is defined on TechTarget’s Search Content Management division website as “the recognition of printed or written text characters by a computer. This involves photo scanning of the text character-by-character, analysis of the scanned-in image, and then translation of the character image into character codes, such as ASCII, commonly used in data processing.” It is continuously revolutionizing the way data is evaluated, searched, and accessed across many industries and departments, especially Accounts Payable, and saving astronomical amounts of time and money.

A brief history

One of the earliest providers of OCR was OmniPage. It was developed back in the 1980’s and sold by Caere Corporation. The engine currently supports over 120 languages and is still in existence today!
One of our favorite solutions to recommend is by another pioneer in the OCR industry is ABBYY. ABBYY has been around since 1989 entering the market with ABBYY FineReader and currently supports 189 languages! The company has a very diverse menu of solutions that are all excellent in terms of document scanning and processing. One of our favorites to recommend is for invoice processing; ABBYY FlexiCapture for Invoices.

Notable ABBYY application

Recently, there was an announcement that caught our eye: An app was just launched that is transforming lives and promoting safety among the visually impaired population. Amedia Live Reader, created out of a partnership between ABBYY and Amedia, enables visually impaired users to scan street signs, and with the utilization of voice technology, provides an audio prompt that announces the text on the signs ahead.

OCR for invoice processing

You may have landed on this blog post while researching your options for saving invoice processing time. This is one of the easiest ways that we are able to demonstrate ROI and one that most Accounts Payable departments are seeing a great delay within. It is also really easy to use. Check out this diagram and description from the ABBYY website.


Do you think you are ready to start planning your digital transformation? Here is a checklist of questions to help evaluate and get started:

  • Make a list of the documents that you deal with on a regular basis. Include not only paper documents, but also pdf’s and other documents that contain any text that may need to be entered into a system that you then have to act upon.
  • Put together a list of the various directions that documents that are coming from… i.e. email, mail, hand delivered, faxed, etc..
    Ask your team what they are manually transcribing.
  • Create a flowchart of each type of document and what is done after it is received. This will help you to create automated workflows once you go paperless.
  • Make a list of the key players in each step of the process after a document is received.
  • Document all systems that your team is entering date into.
  • Put together a list of the things that you would like to do once your document scanning and processing solutions are fully implemented.

What questions can we answer for you? Contact our team today.

If you have already implemented a data capture solution, share what worked best for you in the comments below!

Position your team for success

Optiform offers a broad spectrum of data processing solutions customized to fit any business need. From human resource departments to the information produced through clinical trials, Optiform has a long history of maximizing the efficiency of all its clients. Optiform is here to provide  personalized support and recommendations both pre and post project, to ensure your long-term satisfaction and paper-free results. Contact us today to set up a personalized one-on-one consultation for software and business process recommendations. Already a valued Optiform client? Our customer support is ready to help.